Everton have confirmed the departure of young Portuguese striker João Silva to Bulgarian giants Levski Sofia on a 3-year deal. The move comes following two years at Goodison Park in which the 22-year-old failed to make any appearances for Everton.
Having joined the Toffees in 2010 from Portuguese second-tier club CD Aves, Silva was hailed as a “starlet” and compared to Pauleta, the country’s all-time scorer at international level. Inevitably, young Silva struggled to displace regular first-team forwards Louis Saha, Tim Cahill and Jermaine Beckford, and soon returned to his homeland with a loan move to UD Leiria.
Back in Portugal, Silva looked more comfortable, averaging a goal every three games for Leiria and netting twice against national giants Benfica in a 3-3 draw on the last day of the 2010-11 season. The following summer he joined Vitória de Setúbal, scoring 3 goals in 16 league appearances before being recalled by Everton in January.
However, Silva still failed to make the breakthrough at Goodison, scoring two goals in six starts for the reserve team, and few fans will be surprised to see the Portugal under-21 international offloaded in a transfer that probably benefits both parties. What may have come as a surprise, though, is Silva’s move to Bulgaria, rather than back to his homeland, where his talents have already been proven.
Silva will join compatriots Nino Pinto, a defender, and fellow forward Cristovão Ramos at Levski Sofia, who finished third in last season’s Bulgarian PFG. João follows fellow reserve-team players Adam Forshaw, James Wallace, James McFadden and Marcus Hahnemann out of the exit door at Goodison, with Rangers forward Steven Naismith currently Moyes’ only summer signing.